Nowadays, discovering optimal shipping processes is only the first step towards developing the best possible shipping logistics solutions. The rise of computing software has left few areas of business untouched and shipping is no exception. In fact in many cases, software applications are what allow a sound logistics strategy to be executed.
From the perspective of many businesses, shipping is shipping. When they need something sent out, they search for the cheapest option, contact the carrier, pay a fee and move on. There is, however, much more to the process. At least, there should be, if companies are looking to find the best rates, highest savings ratio, or the overall best service available.
Understanding the regulations and customs requirements surrounding international shipping is the only way to move freight across borders in a safe, legal way. When you consider the ramifications of non-compliance, this knowledge becomes vital to any company that imports or exports goods.
That is why researching regulations is so important. Not only does achieving an advanced comprehension enable a company to operate with full compliance, it allows them to construct a shipping plan designed to follow the rules without hampering performance.
Businesses that ship internationally run the risk of encountering regulatory restrictions and customs issues. Most businesses that fail to comply with the rules of shipping over borders do so because of ignorance, rather than a willful attempt to circumvent the rules. Sadly, a lack of knowledge regarding the rules does not excuse non-compliance, and non-compliance can result in several unwanted ramifications.
The most recognized modes of shipping are parcel, less than truckload (LTL), and full truckload (FTL). But beyond these selections is a less-known option — the partial truckload (PTL). This option is sometimes available for shipments requiring between 12 and 30 lineal ft. Though PTL is building a reputation as a viable shipping method, only a handful of shipping management providers offer this service.
Less than truckload (LTL) can be a viable shipping option when the volume of your freight is greater than what can be sent via a parcel, but not so great that a full truckload (FTL) is necessary. The selection represents the middle-ground, and is often utilized by lots of small to mid-sized businesses. However, LTL shipping can often produce unexpected expenses as a result of the Linear Foot Rule.
One of the key decisions when shipping freight is determining which mode will be most cost effective and efficient while also ensuring the goods arrive in their proper condition. To inexperienced shippers the decisions appear obvious, but seasoned veterans understand the intricacies of shipping contracts and can identify when they are likely to incur unexpected expenses. The standard options for business shipping include:
Many companies understand tactical transportation processes on a shipment to shipment basis. Each time something needs to go out, they look for the best price, tender the freight, and repeat the next time the freight needs to be moved. This approach seems reasonable, but over time it fails to account for carrier performance, changes in shipment mix, customer demands and market trends. This standard tactical approach, if used on its own, also lacks a key component that is vital to any sound strategy: measurable results.
Companies looking to increase shipping efficiencies may turn to a transportation management or third party logistics (3PL) company for guidance. These logistics firms strive to help refine a company’s processes in order to optimize efficiencies and reduce costs, objectives achieved by addressing the following areas of operations:
Partial truckload (PTL) shipments are sometimes offered by carriers to clients needing to move anywhere from 12 to 30 lineal feet of goods. PTL is suitable for clients looking to ship more than what less than truckload (LTL) delivery services can accommodate, but less than that required to fill up a full truckload (FTL).